The Palestinian Problem: A Real Solution

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After decades of disastrous failure, it should be clear that there is little chance of resolving the Palestinian issue if we continue to consider Palestinians as a cohesive entity with which contacts are conducted via some sort of “leadership.” Efforts should therefore be devoted exclusively towards individual Palestinians and towards allowing them, as individuals, free choice as to how to chart their future.

These efforts should be channeled in two major ways:

  • Generous monetary compensation to aid the relocation and rehabilitation of the Palestinian residents in territories outside the confines of the 1967 “Green Line,” presumably — but not necessarily — in the Arab/Moslem world.
  • Making the offer of compensation and relocation directly to the heads of families and not through any collective Palestinian entity or organizational framework.

It should be stipulated that an offer of financially-induced relocation made to a Palestinian political leadership would be vehemently rejected. But the approach suggested here would be made directly by an Israeli (or possibly an appropriately constituted international) entity, to the individual recipients. The scale of the offer would be on the order of the average lifetime earnings in some relevant host country for each family head — i.e. the GDP per capita of such a country multiplied by at least say 40-50 years. (As a comparative yardstick, this would be equivalent to an immigrant bread-winner arriving in the US with 2-2.5 million dollars.)

Thus, each household breadwinner would be confronted with three possible choices: life under the rigors of Israeli rule; life under the harrowing hardships of some Palestinian regime, with commensurately dimmer prospects of a better life for the family; or a sum of money equivalent to the life earning of an average citizen in countries that could serve as an appropriate alternative place of residence – probably, but dominantly Arab or Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa, or countries with significant Arab/Moslem communities in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

It is of course possible that elements in the existing Palestinian institutional establishment would embark on a campaign to dissuade their constituencies from accepting any financial package for relocation. However, such harassment could be used to expose the cynicism of Palestinian “leaders” who lack the capability and perhaps even the desire to create a state, but threaten those who want to break the cycle of perpetual refugee-hood.

In fact, there is evidence that supports the plausibility of this proposal. A November 2004 survey commissioned by the Jerusalem Summit and conducted by a reputable Palestinian polling center and in conjunction with a well-know Israeli institute to gauge Palestinians’ willingness to emigrate permanently in exchange for material compensation. Significantly, the poll showed that only 15% of those polled would absolutely refuse to accept any such inducements, while over 70% stated that they would be willing to take the bargain.

The Acceptability of the Offer to the Prospective Host Countries

For the prospective host countries the proposal has considerable potential economic benefits. The Palestinians arriving at their gates will not be impoverished refugees, but relatively prosperous individuals with the equivalent of decades of local per capita GDP in their pockets. Indeed, for every hundred Palestinian families received, the host country could count on around fifteen to twenty million dollars going directly into the private sector. Absorbing 2,500 new Palestinian family units could mean the injection of up to half a billion into local economies often in dire need of such funds.

There are 2.5 to 4 million people in the West Bank and Gaza. The numbers of families/households (the relevant unit for receipt of compensation) would be in a range of 600,000- 800,000.

If each family head were offered a relocation grant of between $ 150,000 to $200,000, this would be the equivalent of several decades, and in some cases centuries, of GNP per capita earnings in any one of a wide range of prospective host destinations (see table). Indeed, even in terms of the average overall world per capita GDP (about $7000 U.S.) – such grants would be the equivalent of up to a quarter of a century GNP per capita. (As mentioned previously, in comparative terms, this would be equivalent to a bread winner arriving in the US with 2-2.5 million dollars.)

In terms of current estimated GNP per capita in the Palestinian administered territories, the grants would be the equivalent of between over a half-century to more than a century of income.

The aggregate cost of the proposal would be between $45 – 80 billion (depending on whether the relocation grant was $100,000 or $200,000). Extending the relocation to the entire Palestinian population would effectively entail doubling the required outlay to $90 –160 billion. Israel’s GNP is around $150 billion. If it were to declare that it was prepared to devote annually 4-6% of its GNP to the resolution of the Palestinian problem – i.e. offering an annual sum of $6-9 billion – the entire project could conceivably be implemented within a decade and a half. (It should be noted that the current Oslo process, with all the enormous expense it has entailed, has been going on for almost two decades, producing only catastrophic failure and tragedy.)

If international donors such as the USA, the EU or OECD countries matched Israel’s input dollar-for-dollar (which would involve contributing only a miniscule portion of these countries’ GNP), the implementation could be sped up considerably, possible within 5 years, without undue burden on the world economy.

In any case, the overall cost of the “two-state-solution” would, in all likelihood, be far greater. For even discounting the increased defense cost that Israel would have to incur if required to return to indefensible pre-1967 frontiers, there would still be huge costs. These would include the immense outlays required for the establishment and maintenance of the required physical infrastructure, and bureaucratic and organizational frameworks needed to make the micro-landlocked Palestinian state viable. Also, it should not be forgotten that if a Palestinian state were ever to be acheived, Arab regimes currently hosting Palestinian populations might begin impatiently (possibly coercively) pressing for their return to their newly established homeland. The cost of relocating a large “refugee” population in the nascent Palestinian state could be huge.


The time has come to recognize that for well over half a century, the Palestinians have been unable to produce a credible, competent, and capable leadership with the capacity to achieve statehood. This is in spite of highly favorable conditions such as robust international support and political pressure brought upon the Israelis.

The choice made time and again by this leadership is to prioritize the elimination of Israel over the creation of “Palestine.” This effort seriously undermines the moral and political bona fides of the Palestinian narrative, which has become the basis not only of Palestinian claims for statehood, but also for the much of the international acrimony directed against Israel.

The time has come to remove the noisome issue of Palestinian statehood from the international agenda, and address the enduring Palestinian humanitarian predicament (after all, there is a majority Palestinian state, which is Jordan); to abandon the approach of relating to the Palestinians as a collective entity. Instead we should treat them as individuals deserving a better fate than the one thrust on them by cynical leaders and neighboring states.

The time has come for imaginative new initiatives to defuse and disperse one of the global community’s most volatile problems.

Offering individual Palestinian families generous relocation grants is a solution that will dramatically and immediately improve the lot of individual Palestinians; defuse the Palestinian humanitarian “crisis”; ensure the continued survival of Israel as the state of the Jewish people; and inject billions of dollars of funds into the economies of low income nations who welcome the Palestinians.

This is a proposal that deserves debate and discussion. As it stands now, the Palestinians have nothing to lose but the chains in which their leaders have imprisoned them.

Martin Sherman is the 2009-2010 visiting Israeli Schusterman scholar at USC/HUC-JIR and the academic director of the Jerusalem Summit. He lectures at Tel Aviv University, served in Israel’s defense establishment and was a ministerial adviser to the Yitzhak Shamir government.

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  • Terry

    I've been saying this for years. I remember being asked by one of my left wing friends where I was planning to build the gas chambers!!! Yet this is an obvious solution to a problem that otherwise has no solution. It is clear that the Jew hating left and the PA 'leadership' only want to destroy Israel. They are not in the least interested in 'Palestinian' statehood. If they were they'd have accepted it many years ago.

    So the arabs calling themselves palestinians need a reason to cease to live this charade and get on with their lives. Pay them to go. They will never be a viable state, not least because they don't even want to be a viable state. Their leaders' mission is destruction, not not nation building. Call an end to this farce and solve the problem once and for all with individual arabs calling themsleves palestinians.

    • Gary Rumain

      Historically, Arabs are land thieves. They won't leave because they see any land they've once occupied as theirs. Consider their ranting about al-andalus (Spain). They still want that back. The only real solution is to force them out and keep them out.

      • s norby

        Sounds like toddlers:

        The Toddlers Creed
        by Dr. Burton L. White

        If I want it,
        IT'S MINE!

        If I give it to you and change my mind later,
        IT'S MINE!

        If I can take it away from you,
        IT'S MINE!

        If it's mine it will never belong to anybody else,
        No matter what.
        If we are building something together,
        All the pieces are mine!

        If it looks just like mine,
        IT'S MINE!

        If it breaks or needs putting away,
        IT'S YOURS!

      • Viiit

        You are right. However it is also true that ALL nations are land thieves.
        We all came out of Africa and then stole the land, and stole it again and again and again.
        It is time for us to realize that strong wins, and weak loses. Time to stop moralizing and to get strong. This is how nature works, this is how humanity works, too. The only difference is that we cover our natural behaviors with pretense of "morality".
        Now morality is good for deceiving enemies, but it is deadly if we deceive ourselves.
        Arabs are primitive and therefore can easily see through our deception, on the other hand Jews are very cultured and they get caught it their own pretense and are at the risk of paying for this idiocy with their national existence. Perhaps even with total extermination.
        Being nice, is for the cameras, only.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    You can’t simply ignore Islam and hope to solve anything in the Islamic world, as Islam is central to everything that goes on over there. The writer of this article would do well to consider the permanency of the jihad being waged against Israel. The goal of the jihad is the ultimate destruction of the Jewish infidel state and not the creation of a Palestinian state. Hence, any Palestinian state created would not result in peace because it would only be a stepping-stone to the achievement of that ultimate goal, or if the author’s proposals were to be put into affect; it still would not stop the Dar al Islam from continuing to pursue their perpetual genocidal jihad against the Jewish state. I mean Hezbollah would not simply go away, Iran would not all of a sudden stop trying to destroy the Jewish state, the Saudis would never stop funding jihad behind the scenes, and Hamas would never stop trying to destroy Israel.

    Hence, any solution will have to be comprehensive in that it should involve not only just the Dar al Islam’s proxies, the so-called Palestinians, but indeed the entire Dar al Islam itself, and in that regard anything less than destroying the regimes responsible for financing and funding the global jihad, confiscating their enormous oil wealth and oil assets, and rendering them into abject poverty and isolation, is destined to fail.

  • JK21

    The artificial efforts to create a viable Palestinian state may be one of the world's greatest historical contradictions and political embarrassments. In reality, there is really only one state on the planet that truly wants a viable Palestine: Israel. It is apparently the only state that would benefit directly.

    Yet it's ironically the only state that is attacked by both the Palestinians, its Arab neighbors, the UK, and other historical enemies. Enemies of the philosophy of Israel, its significance to humanity, today's and of ancient times, are the true target. Its enemies use Palestine as a tool, part of a ruse to feign concern for Palestinians simply to undermine Israel, the cradle and creator of civilized Law without slavery.

    The UN is more conducive to disuniting those nations, than uniting them. The curtain hiding the wizards of disunity has been open for 40 years. The facade is down and the gambit is over, and the phony flotillas aimed at incitement and provocation, not peace, are exposed. The choice of life over martyrdom is up to the Palestinians.

  • suzanne

    Of course there should be world pressure to end the so called "Palestinian refugee crisis". They are kept cynically in their jails because the Arabs know full well that the world will blame their suffering on the Jews and not on them. It is about as sick as it gets. I wouldn't trust the UN to handle anything concerning the fate of these "Palestinians" though.

  • AL__
  • antiterror9

    I've got to tell you all something: Proposing solutions is always nice… except there is one little problem. The ones who call themselves "Palestinians" are…
    1) Artificially made, as most of them were Jordanians prior to 1967 (yes, with some Lebanese, Syrians and Egyptians) but have never been declared or recognized as "Palestinians" – it was only after Israel won in 1967 that all of the sudden the appeared. They are only a TOOL that serves radical Islam, along with many jobs and corruption at the UN. PURE and SIMPLE.
    2) Pathological Liars – They have never desired and will not sign a peace treaty with Israel, ever. I am AMAZED how everyone is so blindfolded on this. They had NUMEROUS opportunities to end the conflict, topping with prime minister Barak, who was even willing to divide Jerusalem for crying out loud. They did not take the deal because peace WITH ISRAEL is not their goal. It is rather the DESTRUCTION of Israel that they are after and will use any excuse and any mean to move forward in that direction only.
    3) A political tool for Islam in the middle east – why what's easier than taking this tiny little country called Israel and scapegoat it all you can? I am also afraid that this political tool is becoming a world problem… just look at countries like the UK, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, France and see what they have become – Greenhouses for Radical Islam.

    • Hugo

      The Israelis are the warlords and the liars. It is not their land and it has never been their land. They are for the most part Eastern European converted Ashkenazim Jews who cannot trace their origins to Palestine but mostly to Russia, Poland etc. They even have an autonomous Jewish region in Russia called "Birobidzhan"- why don`t they go there?
      Israel is the odd one out-the Ashkenazim should all leave Israel and leave the country to the real Sephardi Jews and the Palestinians.

      • MixMChess

        Hugo, you're an idiot peddling the old antisemitic Khazar hoax. Ashkenazi Jews genetically share more similarities with Sephardic Jews than they do with Europeans (especially Russians and Polish). In fact genetics can trace all Jews (Ashkenazi, Sephardim and others) back to common ancestors from the land of Israel.

        In fact, the so-called Palestinians are newer to the area than most of the original European Zionists. Arabs moved to the region for economic opportunities in the early 20th century after Jews made the land viable and raised the standard of living.

        • Hugo

          There is no truth in what you write. In fact the Ashkenazim Jews who have common sense and know they are European and know their history are against Israel.
          The hoax is that the Ashkenazim have been told by their own that their genes are in common with the Sephardi Jews.

          • MixMChess

            Hugo, you're still an idiot… Genetics and history back up my facts. What facts back up yours? Pali-Nazi propaganda?

            The biggest hoax in the past century has been the idea of "Palestinian" nationalism. Its a fabrication, invented out of thin air. You may as well believe in Scientology or some other made up culture.

  • Viiit

    There is a solution that very few people think of.
    De-Arabize Middle East.
    Psychologically people need to identify with something greater than themselves.
    This days, nations take on this role, more than religions. Islam may be lagging behind, but it can be transformed, just like Christianity was. (People used to think of themselves as Christians before let's say Austrian, or Italian.)

    People in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and North Africa need to be told that they are not Arabs. Rather they are Arab occupied ancient nations.
    Lebanese can be convinced that they are not Arabs, but Phoenicians. Egyptians can be proud of their ancient past. Syrians ancient people and ancient culture, too. Damascus is older than Hebron. Moroccans and Algerians are Berbers who have been colonized and forcibly Arabized by the Muslim hordes. Iraqis are ancient Babylonians. Of course Iran has a high culture for over 1000 years before it was conquered by the Muslim barbarians.

    I have tried this approach with some "Arabs" and it really works. A Lebanese "Arab" young man, was very excited when I told hem that he was a part of a very highly cultured ancient Phoenician. Moroccans and Algerians actually know that they are Berbers. Etc.
    Many Iranians see themselves as occupied courtly and see Islam as Arab colonialist/imperialist ideology.

  • Bill Ford

    This is not a new solution nor will it work. Jordan was created to be the warehouse for all disaffected Muslim refugees and their offspring. It is a pipe dream to think the world or Muslims will ever permit this to happen. No way. The war is spiritual. It is between Satan and allah verses God of Abraham, His Promise, His Land and His People and their Covenant with Him.

  • Ashfaq aziz

    we want peace for palestine !!!

    • MixMChess

      You want peace for a make believe country with a fabricated culture?

  • david singer

    Such a proposed compensation initiative coupled with a division of sovereignty of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel would afford displaced refugees the choice to apply for resettlement within the newly expanded borders of Jordan. The resultant financial infusion coming from Jordan's acceptance of such immigrants would be of great assistance to Jordan's economy. There would be the added benefits of family reunion and the reunification of the Arab populations on both sides of the Jordan River as existed between 1948-1967.

    • MixMChess

      What I don't understand is why do we need to create another undemocratic Islamo-facist country? I am not at all opposed to a Palestinian state but there need to be certain prereuqisites for its establishment, such as civil rights for its citizens, secularism (as there is in Israel and the rest of the west), pre-approved peace with its neighbors and it cannot be Judenrein!

  • -ss-

    heil hitler=-)

  • Mark Bernadiner

    The problem is very simple: arabs, including palestinians, EU and UN are not interested in saving Israel, but quire opposite.

    UN, including Secretary Generals KOFI ANNAN AND BAN KI MOON, UNHRC Chair Navi Pillay, and EU MKs, later including CATHERINE ASHTON, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNION FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY started to design a plan to destroy Israel during the second Lebanon war. They pushed Israel into 'cease fire" trap to save Hezbullar from total defeat and thereafter helped Hezbullah to rearm with advanced Iranian weapons under UNIFIL protection. The same tactic with the same objective UN and EU used against Israel during war on Hamas. Now UN and EU are implementing a strategy to arm Hamas to the teeth with Iranian weapons. In addition, UN is developing a strategy to disarm Israel through so called initiative “Nuclear Free ME”, to oppress Israel legally through fraudulent “independent” investigations of “war crimes”, such as Goldstone and Co. fake and false investigation and currently planning Flotilla investigation.

  • David Tsal

    Here is what matters to me:

    1. Are Jews being killed (as in 2000-2001)?
    2. Are Jews being expelled (as in 2005)?
    3. Are Jews being bombed, shelled, etc?
    4. Are Jews about to be killed, expelled, bombed, shelled, etc?

    If not, things are good. If yes, things are bad.

    Negotiations and breakthroughs do not matter, as long as they don't effect these four things.

    Two state solution would result in killing, expulsion, bombing, shelling, etc. Therefore, it is bad.

    I think this is the sane attitude. I think ignoring lives and deaths of people or sacrificing them on the altar of negotiations, breakthroughs, solutions or change is sheer madness.

    As for the "essentially disenfranchised Palestinian families residing both in Israeli territory and in the wider Arab world" – I don't give a damn.

    There is already too much love for them, and too little for Jews. Let the rest of the world love them and their murderous ways. When the world starts seeing Jews as human beings, I might change my attitude.

  • Well…

    Lol @ the Man above me (Mr.David Tsal)…. But before i post my comment iam [A] one comment person on this board so read my words or leave it before you flame.

    1. Are Jews being killed (as in 2000-2001)?
    2. Are Jews being expelled (as in 2005)?
    3. Are Jews being bombed, shelled, etc?
    4. Are Jews about to be killed, expelled, bombed, shelled, etc?

    If not, things are good. If yes, things are bad.

    These words fail much …. You mean Do Palestinians get bombed, shelled ….etc?
    Do you even read newspapers? and compare how much Palestinians and how many jews die? or need some videos? do you see how they die and randomly die and how jews infiltrated this country ? Better watch The Arrivals.

    and oh "When the world starts seeing Jews as human beings, I might change my attitude. " They wont see them like you want until they stop bombarding Palest. and act themselves like human and then we call them humans… Its like telling us stop calling dogs ..dogs and call them humans.. let them act as humans and we will call them when they have a brain.

    Thx for reading and hope you will just read it like a 18+ and not yell back "Your dumb….Answers me " Remember I am here for only one comment.

    Iam not from Palest.

  • ajnn

    How does this punish the jews?

    It is international zionism that is the problem. Why not pay the jews to leave israel?

    [without accounring for jew-hatred as a motivation for anti-zionism this plan will be impossible to implement.]

  • New Yorker

    Israel is Jewish by definition. Whoever does not like it may pack up and leave. There are plenty of arab countries around with no Jews or Zionists in them to be-spoil the muslim paradise. Whoever is not happy with living in the one and only Jewish state is free to move out into one of the many Jew-cleansed ones – and stay happy.

  • Viiit

    People gave you thumb down because they did not get the sarcasm.